XLIV., XLV.—Nos. 62 and 63 CHEYNE WALK, formerly known as CHURCH ROW or PROSPECT PLACE.
Ground landlord, leaseholders, etc.
The houses belong to the Cheyne Hospital for Sick and Incurable
Children. The nurses of the hospital use No. 62; No. 63 is tenanted by
Alfred Carpmael, Esq.
General description and date of structure.
Nos. 62 and 63 Cheyne Walk are the only remaining houses of a terrace
of five which were at first called Church Row and afterwards Prospect Place.
They immediately adjoin the churchyard, and figure in a great many old views
of the church and of Cheyne Walk. The land on which they are built was part
of the property sold to Thomas Lawrence in 1583 when he purchased the old
Manor House, and overlooks the chapel which was part of the private property
of the Lawrence family. It is probable that the row was built soon after 1686
when the then owner, Sir Thomas Lawrence, returned from Maryland, where
he was Secretary to the Colony, as Mr. Randall Davies notes a lease of the
end house (eastwards) to Edward Hatfield in 1689. The two houses that remain are therefore the oldest houses, still existing, which we have treated so
far in this survey.
Having said that they do exist, we have said almost as much as we can
of the original houses, for in the intervening period between their erection and
the present time many alterations have been made. The last alteration, however (1908), has been very skilfully done, and their exterior, at least, preserves
for us very much the appearance which is seen in old engravings. The chief
change has been made in demolishing the ground floor of No. 63 to make an
archway to the rear of the houses, but the front walls have not been otherwise
disturbed. The plastered fronts, the early Victorian balcony of No. 63 and the
graceful little doorway of No. 62 are still as they were, and the windows retain
their old proportions, the dormer windows only having been rebuilt.
It is evident that the houses were decorated and somewhat remodelled
about a century ago, and this is still more plain in the interior. The front
room and hall on the ground floor of No. 62 have just been thrown into one.
The room is panelled throughout; there is an old grate with a new chimneypiece, and in the panelling is a large square opening that led into the back
room through folding doors. The architrave to this dates from about 1800;
the doors, with their glass fronts and curved glazing bars, are fitted in the
room above on the first floor, and open on to the adjoining hospital. The
back room has a new chimney-piece, but it retains the fine cast grate, of which
an illustration is given in Plate 94. The stair was put in about the year 1800,
and on the first floor both rooms have good plain panelling and excellent grates.
The second floor has two good grates and a panelled dado.
The interior of No. 63, which was the home of Francis Atterbury, Bishop
of Rochester, has been quite altered and the back portions of both this and
the neighbouring house have been rebuilt. The Hospital has, however, been
very wise in the conservative character of the work, and its directors deserve
the thanks of all lovers of Chelsea in that they have preserved so large a
proportion of the old buildings.
Condition of repair.
The houses are now in excellent repair.
We have already stated that the five houses constituting Church Row or Prospect
Place were built a little before the year 1689 on land which belonged to Sir Thomas
Lawrence. In the early rate-list (1695) there is a marginal note against the names of the
residents here: "In ye new row by ye Church." The names for this year are (giving
the modern numbers):—
|No. 59.||James Salter and Edward Hatfield.|
|No. 60.||Mrs. Ann Shadwell, widow.|
|No. 61.||Mrs. Colley, widow.|
|No. 62.||Mrs. Cary, widow.|
|No. 63.||Mr. Atterbury.|
At the first house we have already noticed (vide XXXI.—No. 18 Cheyne Walk) that
James Salter had his famous coffee-house, which Faulkner tells us was opened in this very
year, 1695. It was the corner house having a frontage to the road leading to the old
Manor House, now Lawrence Street. Faulkner says that Salter was amerced £6 by the
Court Leet in 1685 "for suffering the [river] wall opposite his dwelling to be ruinous,"
but the date should probably be 1695, as Dr. Atterbury and Mrs. Colley were amerced
in the same way. Mr. Randall Davies quotes the following from the rate-book, which seems
to refer to this matter:—" 1697, November 9. Memorandum that upon re-building
that part of ye Thames wall that fronts ye five houses built on Sir Thomas Lawrence's
ground the landlords of those houses did contribute a third part of the charge of re-building
it not as being obliged to be at this or any part of the charge but making a free gift of so
much to the Parish."
Regarding Salter's residence here and the reputation which his coffee-house had
already acquired, we cannot forbear to quote from the quaint description of Chelsea by
John Bowack in 1705. He says: "The place is noted for good conversation, and for many
honorable worthy inhabitants, being not more remarkable for their titles and estates, employments and abilities, than for their civility and condescension, and their kind and
facetious tempers, living in perfect amity among themselves, and having a general meeting
every day at a coffee-house near the Church, well known for the pretty collection of varieties
in nature and art, some of which are very curious." Salter stayed here till 1707, and in
the following year moved his establishment to the corner of Danvers Street.
Of Mrs. Ann Shadwell Mr. Davies writes: "She was presumably the widow of Thomas
Shadwell, the Laureate, whom Faulkner also places in Church Lane: and as we know that
our row was in existence in 1689, it may be concluded that this was his house. He died
in 1692, and was buried in the Church—or churchyard—adjoining, the funeral sermon
being preached by Dr. Nicholas Brady. The only monument to him is in Westminster
Abbey." His wife is said to have been on the stage before her marriage.
"Dr. Francis Atterbury," as he is generally called in the rate-books, lived in No. 63
until 1703, and in the following year he is to be found among the residents in Danvers
Street. This is where Swift found him when he came to live "over against Dr. Atterbury's
house." He held a variety of Church appointments, was made Bishop of Rochester in 1713,
and finally died abroad after imprisonment in the Tower for furthering an attempt to restore
the Stuarts. In the Dictionary of National Biography there is a good account of him, with
references to some of his many distinguished friends.
The subsequent residents in Nos. 62 and 63 are given below:—
|1695.||Mrs. Cary, Widow.|
|1758–1759.||Rev. Richard Brooks.|
|1776–1778.||Capt. Charles Dean.|
|1791–1792.||John Thorn or Thomm.|
|1695–1703.||Dr. Francis Atterbury.|
|1748.||Capt. William Roberts.|
Crew Offley (younger son of John Offley of Madeley in the county of Stafford, and
of Anne, daughter and heiress of John Crewe of Crewe in the county of Chester) married
Margaret, only daughter of Sir Thomas Lawrence, and through his wife acquired the Chelsea
property of the Lawrences. His elder brother, John Crew Offley, dropped his surname,
and from him is descended the present Lord Crewe. (fn. 1)
Lysons mentions the tomb of Joanna, wife of Christopher Rhodes, Esq., and daughter
of Sir Oliver Butler, in the churchyard, under date 1753.
Nicholas Spriemont, or Sprimont, was the man under whose direction the Chelsea
China Manufactory became famous. The works were situated on the west side of Lawrence
Street, close by, and Sprimont became sole proprietor from 1758 to 1769, when he sold
the business to James Cox, from whom it was purchased by William Duesbury and James
More recently Prospect Place has acquired interest from the residence in the corner
house (No. 59) of Holman Hunt, who painted here his well-known picture, "The Light
of the World." On Plate 92 the window of his studio is marked with an X. In the
Hospital (built 1888), which occupies the site of Nos. 59 to 61, is an engraving of the
picture given by the artist and the inscription by himself: "To the Watchmen's little children
from the painter, who made this picture in this corner house, Lawrence Street, Cheyne
Walk, in the year 1850–3." In Mrs. Allingham's biography of her husband, William
Allingham, an interesting description is given of a visit he made with Rossetti to Holman
Hunt's lodging in 1851, whither they went to spend an evening, but did not leave till
3.0 a.m., when "dawn was broad upon the river and its trailing barges."
Bibliographical references. (fn. 2)
Alfred Beaver, Memorials of Old Chelsea (1892).
Randall Davies, Chelsea Old Church (1904).
Dictionary of National Biography (Atterbury, Shadwell, Salter, Holman Hunt).
William Bemrose, Bow, Chelsea, and Derby Porcelain.
In the committee's ms. collection are—
|3289.||Nos. 62 and 63 Cheyne Walk, view from south (photograph).|
|3290.|| (fn. 2) Nos. 62 and 63 Cheyne Walk, another view (photograph).|
|3291.|| (fn. 2) No. 62 Cheyne Walk, fireplace, ground floor (photograph).|